Source: President of Russia – The Kremlin – English
Russia was represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Lavrov SergeiForeign Minister of Russia , Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov Peskov DmitryDeputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Presidential Press Secretary , Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov Ushakov YuryAide to the President and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to France Alexei Meshkov.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank the President of France for inviting me to this marvellous place, his official residence. We got a bird’s eye view of this part of France from the helicopter and could see how beautiful it is. Mr Macron was kind enough to seat our delegation in the shade while he and his delegation are sitting in the sun, so I will try to be brief, although I have to repeat some points.
Of course, we will give due attention and find time to discuss bilateral relations. I would like to note on this point that, at the initiative of the President of France, we are developing civil society dialogue, the Trianon Dialogue, in addition to our traditional areas of cooperation.
Speaking about trade and economic ties, they have been growing recently. Trade is growing, although, to tell the truth, there was a certain adjustment in the first six months of this year. I believe there were sound reasons for this. There is a positive element to it: the trade balance is levelling out.
Let me recall that the cumulative investment of Russian companies in the French economy exceeds 3 billion – this is in dollars; the figure for French investment in the Russian economy is $17 billion.
In all, 500 French companies are currently active in the Russian market, and I have the pleasure of meeting with French businesspeople regularly. A regular meeting with them took place in Moscow recently, a few months ago.
As for the international agenda, I certainly hope we will discuss international security issues. Mr President mentioned problems in this area, and they do exist. I would like to recall that it was not Russia that withdrew unilaterally from the ABM Treaty. We did not walk away from the INF Treaty either. Now, extending the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms (START III) is on the agenda. We have not yet seen any initiatives from our American partners although our proposals are on the table.
We are worried about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the potential militarisation of outer space, and here we have something to discuss. We would even like to discuss these items in detail to clear up the position of France on these vital issues, including space militarisation.
I would like to recall and repeat here in France that we assume a unilateral commitment on medium- and shorter-range missiles. If such attack systems are deployed by the US, we will also have them, but we will not deploy them anywhere unless US systems like this appear.
Regrettably, we have not yet heard any response to what we have expressed many times in public. We get the impression that they simply do not hear us. That said, I think the Europeans are interested in listening to us and responding appropriately.
Finally, we are bound to talk about regional conflicts. Of course, we will talk about southeast Ukraine, about Donbass. I will tell Mr President about my recent contact with the newly-elected president of Ukraine. There are certain things in this respect that may be discussed as well, that give us cautious optimism.
To be continued.